Heritage: Our history can help shape how we feel about our city
The history of the places we live plays a crucial role in determining how we feel about them today.
But what if we don’t know about that history, asks Charlotte Head, who is community heritage officer at Heeley City Farm.
The neighbourhoods that make up Sheffield have a fantastic heritage that we probably don’t know enough about, let alone celebrate often enough.
Yet of course, with several thousand years of people living here, plenty of interesting things worth shouting about must have occurred.
Sheffield might be well known for the several hundred years of industry in the valleys which now form the city and the Peak District.
However, not enough people, from within or outside Sheffield, probably appreciate the fascinating pre-history of the city – the rich medieval past, its transport heritage or its agricultural history.
Take Tinsley as just one example of a neighbourhood most Sheffielders know little about.
The discovery of a 3,500-year-old dugout canoe in Chapel Flat Dyke, in what is now Tinsley, is a case in point.
Unearthed in the 1963 during works on the Steel Peach and Tozer steel works, the Bronze Age canoe was taken to Weston Park museum but remained packed away in its stores until just last year.
Now on display in the Beneath Your Feet exhibition at the museum, it is at last being given the attention it deserves as the oldest boat of its kind found in the north east of England.
The Tinsley court rolls are another fantastic resource that have only just been fully appreciated as they should be.
Spanning over 500 years ( from1284 to 1805) , these documents help to depict what rural life was like for people surrounding Tinsley Manor.
We are really excited to learn more about the story that they tell, which will be uncovered thanks to a PhD at the University of Sheffield that begins later on this year.
Knowing these things about Tinsley, and Sheffield as a whole, is vitally important for helping us to feel more proud of where we are from.
Heritage just means the result of people being in a place over time.
It’s not necessarily something lofty or academic, and it has huge power to bring people together, to forge bonds in communities.
Discovering a shared heritage can create a shared identity where there might have been very little there before.
At the core of our two-year Lottery Players-funded Tinsley Time and Travel project is the idea that bringing people together to discover this heritage is well worth doing.
Heeley City Farm already has a good track record of running community heritage projects across the city, and we want to create as many opportunities for people to discover the unique heritage of Tinsley as possible.
They range from talks, art walks, and family workshops, to adult learning, a website and recording memories.
Everyone that lives or has lived in Tinsley shares in its history, no matter how long their residency.
As part of wider work that is happening in Sheffield to promote the city’s unique history, such as the ongoing creation of a city wide heritage strategy by Joined Up Heritage, Tinsley Time and Travel is a great example of how a place can be put on the map thanks to its heritage.
And who knows what we might discover next?
It’s fantastic that we can share discoveries with residents of Tinsley and across the city of Sheffield, generating pride in the places we live, work and visit.
To join the Tinsley Time and Travel mailing list with news of upcoming events, please email [email protected] or call 0114 258 0483
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n Would you like to shout about the heritage of a particular part of Sheffield on these pages?
Get in touch by emailing reporter Julia Armstrong at [email protected]